Here first post in this series Viva mastering hand targeting and this is the rewind to back when I decided to teach Viva to hand target. My plan was to teach Viva to hand target and reward her with baby food, letting her lick the lid (that had baby food on it). With the thought being that once she knew the verbal cue "touch" she would "touch" the lid of the baby jar (instead of my hand) and be immediately rewarded with the food on the lid. Seemed like a great plan but, clearly that wasn't the case.
"What are we doing foster mom?"
The main issue for me was that Viva clearly not enthusiastic about this training and I'm big on wanting my dogs be excited about training. This is boring and perhaps even stressful for her. Viva and I have been training long enough that I know what Viva having fun looks like. She had a blast mastering these new skills Viva and the behavioral chain . My hope was that she would be so over the moon about the baby food that the food would make this an amazing game. And I was wrong.
I was also puzzled about her just sitting while we worked on this skill. I was hoping she would move around. When I stop and think about it, why would she move around, I'm just sitting there as well. Not a whole lot of fun!
You can hear Catty barking in the background and I thought might be stressful for Viva out. Catty was in the bedroom working on a frozen kong and she didn't want the kong, she wanted out to do training! Catty loves training and keeping her occupied while I work with the other dogs is a challenge. I did the same set up but, gave Catty a Beam which kept her quiet so Viva an I could work. Even with Catty being quiet, I had the same outcome with Viva.
Time to do something different. When adjusting your plan first look at the environment. The environment produces the behavior, the behavior gives you the outcome (all/any can be negative or positive).
Viva and I have done a lot of training in this room and that has gone well over the months. By getting Catty to be quiet I see the same outcome in Viva's behavior so, I rule out that the physical environment isn't the issue. My next thought is that the reinforcer (still something in the environment) was the issue. Maybe she doesn't like sweet potato chicken dinner? So I move onto my next plan which turned out to be a disaster! But an excellent learning experience for me.
Stay tuned for that post...